An international conference for those involved with advancing teaching, research and scholarship in Disability Studies. The conference will take place at Lancaster University, from midday Monday 26th July - midday Wednesday 28th July 2004. Jointly organised by Lancaster, Leeds and York universities. Disability Studies is concerned with the inter-disciplinary development of an increasing body of knowledge and practice, which has arisen from the activities of the disabled people's movement, and which has come to be known as 'the social model of disability'. The social model of disability locates the changing character of disability, which is viewed as an important dimension of inequality, in the social and economic structure and culture of the society in which it is found, rather than in individual limitations.
This Conference focussing on the children with severe disabilities in Africa, aims to highlight the progress made and challenges faced in the areas of early childhood intervention, inclusion, human rights and the use of AAC with children who have severe disabilities. It will provide an unprecedented opportunity for individuals with disabilities, parents of children with disabilities, advocacy groups, professionals, policy makers and academics to be involved as planners, presenters and delegates. In particular it aims to further issues surrounding: ·Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) whose mission is to prevent or minimize the impact of disabilities on children and their families ·Inclusion of children with severe disabilities with the aim of assisting them to become participating members of an inclusive society ·Human rights by grappling with the practical implications of dignity, freedom and equality for all children ·Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), which aims to provide a means of communication for individuals with little or no functional speech. Venue: Birchwood Executive Hotel, Johannesburg, South Africa For a full copy of the call for papers contact Margi Lilienfeld at email@example.com or by phoning 0824668254. For more information visit the website at www.up.ac.za/academic/caac
The sudden move by medical aid schemes to deny chronic medication benefits for various mental illnesses has been condemned as the biggest disaster to hit psychiatric care in South Africa in the last 10 years. The arbitrary and unilateral move, which could endanger the lives of thousands of sufferers across the country, has drawn widespread criticism from leading groups involved in mental healthcare including the SA Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) and the healthcare consumer watchdog, Rights Education and Activism for Consumer Healthcare (REACH). People suffering from (BMD, previously known as manic depression) and depression are particularly at risk, says Zane Wilson, founder of SADAG. Sufferers of bipolar mood disorder ( BMD) and depression can and do function as productive contributors to the economy and highly capable members of society at large. But this is only possible with continued proper medication and monitoring. Otherwise they risk regression with resultant personal setbacks and even hospitalisation, but more dire consequences including suicide and even violent attacks says,Wilson. Outraged patients, many of them successful business leaders and heads of families and whose conditions have stabilised under consistent treatment, have inundated SADAG and REACH with complaints. The decision of the Council for Medical Schemes is based on the lack of published guidelines for the treatment of BMD and lack of registeration gfor most of the medications used. This does not take into account the thousands of patients who are stabilised on current medication, says Khan., the REACH national co-ordinator. It is understandable that treatment guidelines need to be structured on solid evidence-based data. One needs to take into account that, even though certain medications might not be registered in SA, they are however registered abroad. The consequences of the slow registration process for medicines in SA are being borne by patients here. Although BMD has been included in the list of so-called '25 prescribed minimum benefits (PMB)' conditions for chronic medication, individual schemes are refusing to cover costs on the grounds that no treatment protocol exists for BMD. REACH approached the Council of Medical Schemes to assist in drawing up guidelines regarding mental healthcare benefits, only to told that their inputs were not neeed. In a bizarre twist, these illnesses, including BMD, are still recognised as chronic diseases - just not funded any more. Medical schemes are not legally bound to reimburse patients for medications for BMD. There should be very specific guidelines underpinning the lack of a protocol for the treatment of BMD. For example, patients stabilised for a specific period of time should be reimbursed by their medical scheme. Depression is acknowledged as the world's second biggest cause of adult deaths, and BMD causes violent mood swings, ranging from feelings of BMD sufferers may fall into a manic state resulting in extreme violence and even homicide if their condition is untreated. this creates a set back on important advances in bringing mental illness out of the closet for example in addressing the crisis of the growing number of teen suicides and a successful nationwide focus on the mental health issues on 10 October - World Mental Health Day. Hostile environment alienates sufferers In addition to the spectre of having to spend hours in queues at state hospitals, thousands of people on chronic medication now have to thread their way through a veritable labyrinth of different interpretations, conditions and sub-conditions and a host of products within individual medical schemes. We will pursue every means available to get them to reconsider, say Wilson and Kahn. – ( Source: SAPA 27 October 2003).
The National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities in South Africa (NCPPDSA), in partnership with the National Departments of Health and Social Development, is proud to have been selected to host the RI Governing Assembly Meeting and African Regional Conference between 30th September and 3rd October 2003. Emphasis will be placed on the promotion of self-reliance among persons with disabilities. This will be the first RI Conference to be held in South Africa and it will be a meeting of considerable significance, focusing attention on the many issues relating to disability. CONFERENCE PRINCIPAL CONTACTS: Johan Viljoen Director National - Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities in South Africa,PO Box 426, Melville,Johannesburg, 2109 South Africa Telephone: +27 11 726 8040 Fax: +27 11 726 5705 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Qualitative research methods were used to explore the experiences of disabled people with the assistive devices service. Focus group discussions were held with six groups of users of assistive devices. Selection of the groups was based on the need to include the whole range of disabilities (visual, communication and mobility), as well as people from both resourced and under-resourced areas.
Healthcare facilities are now free for people with disabilities. According to a statement released by the health ministry on Tuesday, the move forms part of the government's efforts to expand services to people in need of social support. People with the following disabilities would benefit: people with permanent, moderate or severe disability. This includes people who move with difficulty and cannot walk on their own; those who cannot dress or eat on their own; and those with communication problems and vision and hearing difficulties; those diagnosed with chronic irreversible psychiatric disability. These patients will qualify irrespective of the fluctuation in their mental status; and, frail, older people and long-term institutionalised state-subsidised patients. A standardised assessment tool had been developed that would be used in all provinces to classify beneficiaries, the statement said. The free services, however, would not be available to people with temporary disabilities or chronic illness. The free healthcare services would allow qualifying people to access free in-patient and outpatient hospital services. Tshabalala-Msimang said the care would include specialist medical attention, prosthetics, wheelchairs, and hearing aids. (Source: Jillian Green: The Star, 2 July 2003)
THE CONFERENCE SUB-THEMES: 1. Nothing about us without us - finding our own voices 2. School to work transition: creating employment opportunities and transforming sheltered workshops to meet current needs 3. Strategies to make inclusion work: resources and supports for inclusive education 4. Skills training for people with intellectual disabilities 5. Inclusion from birth - early interventions strategies, parent professional partnerships 6. Social interaction: issues around sexuality socialisation and life skills 7. Parents: friend or foe - support and letting go 8. Problems relating to specific groups of intellectually disabled people (e.g. Down Syndrome) 9. Promoting healthy lifestyles: sport and recreational opportunities and needs For further Information contact: Anlé Odendaal, ABO Facilitators Tel/Fax: +27 43 7267941 Tel/Fax: +27 43 721 0607 E-mail: email@example.com
Health Systems Trust
It is well known that disabled people are among the most marginalised and oppressed groups within society. Their exclusion has been reinforced by discriminatory attitudes and practices that promote segregation and prejudice. The World Programme of Action Concerning Disabled Persons was promoted by the United Nations in 1982, and was later followed by the Standard Rules on the Equalisation of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities (UN 1993). Internationally, these were means by which to highlight the need for prevention of disability, rehabilitation and equalisation of opportunities for disabled people. Included in rehabilitation are measures to compensate for loss or limitation of function - one of these being through technical appliances. It is also recognised that a precondition to the equalisation of opportunities is the provision of support services - including assistive devices - to disabled people, because they enable the individuals participation on equal terms.
Health Systems Trust
Contrary to popular belief, disability is not about heroic individuals overcoming tragic circumstances. Nor is it about dependency of people with impairments on a few open-minded, charitable individuals or institutions. These images are often reinforced through the media, which perpetuates stereotypical images of disabled people. Disability is about the struggle of those who are excluded and sidelined to challenge the dominant hegemony of society.